…Have you ever written an article and then something happens that’s related to it and it makes you wish you’d waited a few days before writing it? I’ve officially had this moment. A few days ago, I wrote an article talking about Tom King’s Batman as part of my DC Rebirth One Year Later series. Well, the newest issue is out, and…yeesh, it’s like it went to whole new depths of stupid for me to rant about. In fact, this is so bad, you can consider this the newest entry of How To Drop The Ball In Comics, just minus a lot of the deep analysis on how this had potential and shit. So, here we go.
So, first off, Poison Ivy randomly murdering people. And already, I know I’m gonna get it for this, but I’m not a fan of this. I know that Ivy DOES kill people, but the thing is, she only kills when she feels it is absolutely necessary. Here, she kills a bunch of people because they’re trying to kill Riddler for the Joker, and Riddler mentions that Joker will “scorch the Earth”. This cannot possibly be Ivy’s only motivation for getting involved in the War of Jokes and Riddles, because she has no evidence of this outside of Riddler’s word, and she has no real reason to trust anything he says to her. Furthermore, after the two page spread of her killing these guys, we get a splash page of Batman going over the people she killed and how killing them further ruined their families in the most horrific ways, including one guy killing himself because he was originally set to marry one of the men she killed, meaning SHE JUST PUSHED A GAY MAN TO SUICIDE!
Look, here’s the thing: I get it. A lot of the problem involving fan interpretation of Poison Ivy (and other characters for that matter) all stems from the fact that various writers and editors come and go, and the ones that replace them don’t always have the same game plan as who came before them, or even with each other. Add onto that the number of different spin-off universes, Elseworlds comics, TV shows, movies, games, etc., and it CAN be hard to get a for-certain context for how a character is supposed to be, and Ivy is one of the worse cases in that regard. It’s why I don’t necessarily blame any fans for thinking she’s different from what other fans think, outside of situations where people online outright argue and send threats to each other just on the basis of having different viewpoints. THAT is just childish to me. On the other hand, though, not only is Tom King not a fan, but rather one of said writers who isn’t on the same page as those who prefer Ivy in a more heroic light or as an anti-hero, but there’s also the little matter of THIS:
Um, lie much? Blatant-ass lie, right there. Regardless of whether you think Ivy should be a straight-up villain or not, that’s a lie.
Getting beyond my issues as a Poison Ivy fan and member of the Poison Ivy League, though, there is another issue I have with this story that I never really realized until I saw the spreads of Riddler and Joker’s groups of villains. See, I was trying to find any kind of rationale, motif, explanation, etc. for why Ivy is involved in the War of Jokes and Riddles beyond Riddler’s line in this comic, and then I saw those spreads, and a thought occurred to me: What in the name of all that is sane do ANY of these other characters care in the slightest about the blood feud between Riddler and Joker? Why would Mr. Freeze be on Joker’s side? Victor Fries’ motivations all stem around either curing his wife’s illness or getting revenge for his current condition. What the fuck does ANY of what’s going on have to do with either of those things? What do any of these characters give a monkey’s nutsack about Riddler and Joker trying to kill each other? The ONLY possible explanation I could come up with is fear of reprisal from Joker for people sided with him, or wanting to see him dead for people sided with Riddler. In other words, the motivation is the further propagation that all the other rogues of Batman are inferior in some way to Joker, even though I could list at least half a dozen who could kill him easily. Lovely.
And just as an aside, why in God’s name would you ever make a story where Joker is one of the main villains, and he never ever smiles or laughs? That takes away ALL fun from a story involving Joker whatsoever. And yeah, I get that most Joker stories as of late haven’t been very fun to begin with, but holy fuck, give us SOMETHING, DC.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on this issue, and my continued belief that Tom King was the wrong person to put on this book. Lemme know your own thoughts as well. Ja né!